After the rest of the triple jumpers had completed their efforts, a tall, lithe youth quietly crossed the infield from the other side of the Landon track, where he had just run a leg for the winning shuttle hurdles relay team. Saying little, he stripped off his dark blue sweats, revealing pencil-thin calves.
He then strode to the limit of the runway, nearly encroaching on the pole vaulters. For a moment, he stood motionless, head bowed. Then he rocked back on his left leg several times, lifted his head, cocked his arms and, after a little hop, sped down the runway. He stepped squarely on the take-off board, lifted into the air, bounded and lifted again and landed more than 43 feet away.
The small knot of onlookers cheered. Carroll's Kevin Brown uncoiled his 6-foot, 145-pound body from the sand, dusted himself off and walked to where he had dropped his sweat suit. His coach, Bill Witte, clapped and hopped when he saw the distance, noting that it was a meet record.
Brown, a senior, is the Washington area's leading horizontal jumper. During a meet in January, he went 47-6 in the triple jump. That was the area's best performance throughout the winter and, until this month, ranked him nationally. In early March, Brown long-jumped 23-3 1/4 to finish second in the Eastern States meet, the unofficial East Coast championships.
University track programs up and down the East Coast have expressed interest in Brown. He has said he would like to go to Villanova but will not make a firm decision until after the season.
Brown is not all seriousness. He said he enjoys doing many of the same things that attract other teen-agers. But there is no question of his competitiveness.
"I like the pressure," he said. "Last year in the (Metro Conference) championships, the pressure was on in the triple jump. Mike Hollis of Gonzaga was winning. On my last jump, I came out and I won by a foot or two. It was great for me. It was the school record. I was very grateful." Brown went 45-6 for the league and school record that day.
Another example was at the Eastern States in the long jump. "The intensity was tough," he said. "Coming into the finals, I was ranked sixth and I exploded and finished second in one jump."
Since taking up the long and triple jumps his sophomore year, when Witte spotted his ability in the first practice, Brown has been working to prove himself.
"I like to play basketball and they used to say, 'You're so skinny, how do you get up so high?' And by long jumping and triple jumping, I can show my ability.
"My first year, I never thought I'd get this far, but it's nothing I've set out to do. My coach asks me to set a goal, but I don't like to set goals because then I think about the goal too much. I like to go out and give it my all -- that is my goal. I'm coasting this year, but I don't try to act conceited. I just come out and try to do my best."